Rummanah Aasi
 I was a big fan of Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier, especially with its exploration of melding two cultures and finding your identity. I expected something similar with its sequel, Bombay Blues, but unfortunately I will had to add this one to my growing list of disappointing reads of 2014. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book.

Description: In Born Confused, Indian-American just-turned-17-year-old Dimple Rohit bhai Lala found love, friendship, art, and home where she least expected it. But a lot's gone on in the years that have followed. And what happens if what you thought you wanted wasn't what you wanted after all? As she learns during adventures that take her from India to New York to London and back, with a little luck and a lot of vision, the journey home might prove just as magical as what you left behind to make it.

Review:  Bombaby Blues had a lot of potential, but with its experimental narrative filled with characters once loved and now unfamiliar made this a very disappointing read. American born and of Indian descent, Dimple Lala travels to Bombay with her Indian parents and her longtime DJ boyfriend, Karsh Kapoor, to attend the wedding of a cousin, Sangita. Both Dimple and Karsh believed their trip to India will bring them closer as a couple, however, the trip puts a strain on their relationship. Dimple immerses herself in family, culture, photography, music, love, and a search for self; while Karsh embarks on his own spiritual journey.
  There are many, many pages filled with the sights and sounds of India that bring this book alive, however, many of the Hindi words included in the narrative are haphazardly translated. While I can understand having the 'lost in translation' feel to the story considering Dimple's hindi isn't very strong, I wish the author made a choice in translation and stuck to it. Since I was familiar with the Hindi language I didn't have any problems with the book, but I can definitely see where many readers get stumped.
  For majority of the book there is not a whole lot that happens, but then there is a rush of melodrama that takes up space. We see Sangita abruptly announces she is not marrying but instead pursuing a burgeoning art career. Sangita's sister, Kavita, opens up to the family about her homosexuality. Dimple struggles to understand her unraveling relationship with Karsh, but out of characteristic of her, has a spontaneous sexual affair with a random boy she dubbed as the "Cowboy" she just met. There is also the unveiling of a long kept secret of why Dimple's mother and her aunt don't get along well also tacked on.
   I was hoping a bit more of introspection from Dimple while we do get some, it is mostly in the form of stream of consciousness. The inclusion of the "Cowboy" completely threw me and I didn't understand his purpose at all since we know virtually nothing about him. I felt bored with this book and skimmed a lot of it in hopes that I was see a sliver of the characters that I loved in the previous book. Unfortunately, they were not found.

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, brief discussions of sex, and a small sex scene. Recommended for Grades 10 and up.

If you like this book try: Shine, coconut, moon by Neesha Meminger, Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim
3 Responses
  1. Beena Says:

    Wow, you have such an amazing blog - I can't believe I hadn't found it before! Following you via GFC & Fab post - thanks for sharing =)

    Benish | Feminist Reflections

  2. Jenny Says:

    So sorry this was such a disappointment Rummanah, it's always a shame when a second book simply doesn't live up to the first. Being bored or indifferent while reading is the worst, I'd rather being spitting angry instead:) Hope your next read is a 5 star one all the way!

  3. Rats. I just bought this book for my library and now it seems I shouldn't have wasted my money. Thanks for the good review, though,

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